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03 Nov 2016 - WcoTA Visit to the London Transport Museum at Acton

WcoTA Visit to the London Transport Museum at Acton

London Transport Museum at Acton

On an unseasonably warm and sunny October day an intrepid group of us joined the Master (Kevin Thomas)  on a trip beyond the West End to the outpost of the London Transport Museum at Acton for a private tour. After an introduction to the collection which comprises the bulk of the Museum's holdings and serves as a store, with access to workshops to restore and repair items, we were split into two groups and toured both the main store and the small objects collection.

Our enthusiastic volunteer guides took us through the history of buses, coaches, trams and trolley-buses, for many of us a nostalgic recollection of the red and green buses that took us to school or to see relatives. Then on to the underground (cut and cover at first) and the tube seeing the splendid workmanship and hours of dedication involved in restoring historic machinery and carriages and being reminded that most of the “underground” system is in fact overground. We were privileged to sit in a restored Victorian carriage and then for contrast in a prototype Jubilee line train. The profusion of every aspect of LT operations including a variety of signage dazzles the eye – who knew that the more fletchings (feathers) on the direction arrow the older the sign? The old maps were fascinating and we could trace not just the development of the system but also the development of branding driven by Frank Pick who became the first CEO of the London Transport Passenger Board.

We could have stayed much longer in the small objects store with drawers and cupboards full of such items as ticketing machines, tickets sports cups and models. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and many of us will no doubt return, perhaps next time to see the collection of posters.

View the full gallery here: London Transport Museum at Acton

Images © Copyright Transport for London, from the London Transport Museum Collection.